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19 March 2015

Atlanta Democrat Says He Didn't Mean to Vote for Anti-Fulton County Bill that Passed the House

In 2013, Atlanta Democrats were in a tizzy over a bill that would have increased the homestead exemption from $30,000 to $60,000 in Fulton County.

(Rep. Roger Bruce [D - Atlanta] says he didn't mean to vote for a bill he opposed in 2013. Image courtesy Georgia House of Representatives.)
State Rep. LaDawn Blackett Jones (D - Atlanta) told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Citizens are going to see a massive cut in services."

Democrats on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution opposing legislation they called "anti-Fulton."

"WHEREAS, H.B. 541 proposes to increase the homestead exemption from Fulton ad valorem taxes to $60,000.00," the resolution reads.

"WHEREAS, if adopted, H.B. 541 would negatively impact Fulton County government's ability to continue to provide essential services to its citizens. NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Fulton County Board of Commissioners hereby states its opposition to H.B. 541."

When House Bill 541 came to the floor of the Georgia House, fifty-one Democrats --mostly from Atlanta-- voted against the measure [SOURCE: House Vote #288].

A reasonable person might believe that, given their loud protestations against the legislation two years ago, the Democrats' position on increasing Fulton County's homestead exemption from $30,000 to $60,000 would not change.

And any reasonable person believing that would be as wrong as two left shoes.

This year, an identical bill increasing the Fulton County homestead exemption cleared the Georgia House with just fifteen Democrats opposing it [SOURCE: House Vote #123].

We were curious why thirty-six Democrats changed their vote, so we caught up with one and asked why he voted against House Bill 541, but voted for House Bill 521.

State Representative Roger Bruce (D - Atlanta) told Georgia Unfiltered, in a telephone interview, that he didn't mean to vote for House Bill 521. He was in the bathroom at the time, and another Representative pushed Bruce's green "yes" button.

Jimmy Pruett, a Republican lawmaker from Eastman, confirms what Bruce said. In fact, it was Pruett who voted Bruce's machine. Pruett says he thought Bruce supported that bill and apologized for voting the wrong way.

Roger Bruce, for his part, tells Georgia Unfiltered he went to House Speaker David Ralston and made it known that he did not intend to vote for House Bill 521.

One can only wonder if the thirty-five remaining Democrats who switched their votes from no to yes were also victims of voter fraud.